Sunday, March 21, 2010

How Much Is a Liver Worth?

This story first broke a few years ago—I read it in the L.A. Times in 2008. But last fall 60 Minutes decided to hop in with a feature story. The synopsis is that a yakuza boss, Tadamasa Goto
• Paid about a million bucks for a liver transplant at UCLA
• Jumped to the front of the transplant queue because of his financial largess
• Avoided pesky visa problems by becoming an FBI informant.

Needless to say, the story created much outrage and consternation—especially among those awaiting liver transplants. Can’t say that I blame them. And, to no one’s surprise, Goto didn’t provide the inside dirt he promised.

The clip below gives some neat insights into the yakuza and suggests it’s just as prominent and thriving as ever.

And, finally, this story, and other accounts, make it clear that the yakuza have a hit order out on Jake Adelstein, the journalist who essentially broke this story. CBS reports that Adelstein lives under virtual police protection in Japan. Well, Adelstein should be the first to realize that if he’s relying on the Japanese police to stand up to the yakuza and protect him, then he should be very, very worried!

Watch CBS News Videos Online

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